Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Puerto Rico: Spring Break '10
11 students traveled to Puerto Rico this spring break to do environmental volunteer work at Hacienda Verde, a holistic ecological reserve. Located in the mountains of Utuado, the rainforest is home to many endangered species, as well as a shade coffee plantation, orange groves, and myriads of plantains. It presented a wonderful opportunity for learning and connecting with the environment and each other. The week was spent rising with the sun to dig ditches in the clay and dirt roads along the mountains, a task done twice a year to prevent water erosion of the roads. We worked closely with the dedicated foreman, Junior, who has been working alone at the arduous task. Other work included intensively cleaning certain rooms and our dormitory as well as pruning and clearing the landscape.
The incredible, visionary owner of Hacienda Verde, Miguel Rico, gave us a tour of the forest, pointing out trees and methods he used for ensuring sustainability. We visited the ancient tabonuca tree forest, one of the last indigenous groves on the island. Free time was spent hiking and swimming, listening to the coquis (frogs) and the birds. An excursion to the breath taking cave on Rio Tanama was made on Friday with the help of our guide, "The Indian".
The weekend was spent in Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico. We were graciously hosted by the community of Iglesia Metodista. The weekend was spent touring around the historic city Saturday evening and all day Easter Sunday.